Divorce in the UK: Easier than Getting a Driver's License?


If you're looking for divorce advice in Pasadena, you've heard time and time again that getting divorced isn't easy. But across the pond in the United Kingdom, one judge has made headlines around the globe for saying divorcing in the UK is easier than getting a driver's license.

Sir Paul Coleridge, a Family Division judge, spoke boldly to BBC Radio this week about the state of the British family and the recent major increase in divorce. The judge urged couples to "re-educate" themselves about relationships and family values.

"Everyone in the land, from the Royal Family downwards, is now affected by family breakdown," he said. "It affects the lives of children themselves, it affects the lives of their parents ... the wider family gets caught up in it. It then ripples out to the local community, the schools and then into the wider community."

He noted that roughly 3.8 million children currently are tied up in the UK's family justice system with no indication of decline in the immediate future. Social changes over the last 50 years, including cohabitation and having children out of wedlock, are to blame for the divorce explosion, the judge says.

"On the whole, (cohabitation) was regarded as something you didn't do, to have a child outside marriage, so that created a framework that stopped very much breakdown," Coleridge said. "We've had a cultural revolution in sexual morality and sexual behavior."

When asked if he thought getting a divorce was too easy, he replied, "Divorce is easy in the sense that obtaining a divorce is easier than getting a driving license. It's a form-filling exercise and you'll get your divorce in six weeks if everyone agrees. In about 1950, you weren't allowed in the royal enclosure at Ascot if you were divorced. That now would exclude half the Royal Family."

Coleridge believes the breakdown of the British family is one the country needs to address.

"We need to have a reasonable debate about it and decide what needs to be done - and I don't mean government," he added. "They didn't cause the problem."